Seven killed in Colombian mine explosion, collapse 

The National Mining Agency of Colombia (ANM) is providing details about a coal mine explosion and collapse incident that occurred 22 April at an operation in Cucunubá, Cundinamarca that had been ordered closed last year for unsafe conditions.

While the agency did not indicate the specific mine, it did confirm that it recovered the seven killed during a period of uninterrupted work. The search and rescue actions were led by the Mining Safety and Rescue group of the ANM, with the support of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Civil Defense, Firefighters, Red Cross, Army and local authorities, it added.

It has attributed the fatal incident to a methane gas explosion. ANM President Álvaro Pardo has since called for a greater investment by the industry in mining safety and compliance with suspension and closure orders.

ANM did note that the initial report of the event included details that 11 people involved in the accident were identified, though four were rescued and medically treated. In that same report, it said three workers had been killed and another four were trapped. The last two bodies were removed from the mine on 23 April.

“The safety of the people who work in the mines is the responsibility of the mining owners, what we as an entity do is control and supervision of these legal and contractual obligations,” said Pardo, noting that, in the case of this title in Cucunubá, the mine had been closed since December for unsafe conditions.

“The National Mining Agency deeply regrets what happened and expresses its condolences to the families of the victims and ratifies its commitment to implement more rigorous controls in what has to do with the control that mining companies must exercise to guarantee the safety of workers.”

An investigation has commenced to determine what happened, with a report to follow to the prosecutor’s office since there was a suspension order in place. 

Source: National Mining Agency